Kansas State University's Phi Kappa Phi Fellow to study foreign affairs in nation's capital
Thursday, June 29, 2017
MANHATTAN — Kansas State University's Sierra Lekie, recent bachelor's graduate in economics, political science and international studies, Lenexa, has received a Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship to study at American University's School of International Service in Washington, D.C.
With the help of the $5,000 fellowship from the national collegiate honor society, Lekie will work on a master's degree in international affairs, with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and national security. Her goal is to become a foreign service officer.
"It is a great honor to represent the university at the national level and have this achievement reflect what I have learned and gained from K-State over the last four years," Lekie said. "Because of the fellowship, I will be able to spend more time focusing on my studies, taking on extracurricular service and learning opportunities, and possibly pursuing an unpaid internship."
At Kansas State University, Lekie also earned minors in Spanish and statistics. She was active in the Student Alumni Board, Blue Key Senior Honor Society and the Economics Club. She also has been involved in the Student Governing Association, the College of Arts and Sciences Ambassadors, Silver Key Sophomore Honorary, Quest Freshman Honorary and Model United Nations. She studied abroad in Brazil during summer 2014.
Lekie was recently one of 20 students selected nationally for a 2017 Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship with the U.S. State Department. She also was a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholarship nominee and was named a 2014 Cargill Global Scholar.
Jim Hohenbary, director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships, said Lekie's receipt of the fellowship is especially significant because each chapter of Phi Kappa Phi can only nominate one student each year to compete nationally for the fellowship.
"We are very proud of how Sierra represents both our chapter and the university as a whole, and it is great to see Phi Kappa Phi add its support as she continues on the path to becoming a foreign service officer,” Hohenbary said.
Lekie is a 2013 graduate of Shawnee Mission West High School, Overland Park, where she became interested in foreign affairs while researching the U.S. military presence in South Korea, a topic she came across as part of the school's debate team.
"Throughout the year, I found myself getting lost in my research as I spent hours investigating the ever-changing geo-political situation on the Korean Peninsula," Lekie said. "When I realized it no longer felt like research, I discovered my passion for international relations, which I hope to use to make a positive difference in the world."